from a poem written by artist and Precious MomentsŪ creator Sam
Butcher is etched in marble near the Chapel Gates and express
his vision of his now famous Chapel located just southwest of
of prayerful dreaming, careful research and inspired planning,
Butcher realized his most significant life's work with the 1986
ground-breaking for the Precious Moments Chapel. Celebrating its
10th glorious year, the chapel is nestled on hundreds of acres
among the Ozarks and farmland in Carthage, MO. There were times,
Butcher said, when discouragement shrouded his efforts, but "I
was determined to accomplish what I felt the Lord had laid upon
completion in 1989, the beautiful Italian pre-Renaissance-style
sanctuary is the destination for almost a million visitors annually.
They come to see the original works of art so lovingly created
by this humble "chalk minister," who teaches the word of God through
illustrations featuring his Precious Moments messengers of loving,
caring and sharing.
Complex now encompasses approximately 3000 acres and consists
of The Chapel Visitors' Center (including gift shops, a deli and
a ticket and information center); The Chapel; The Fountain of
Angels; The Wedding Island; and several supporting buildings for
office, convention and general use. In addition to the attractions
that are part of The Chapel Complex, The Precious Moments Best
Western Hotel and Cubby Bear's RV Park provide year-round lodging
for guests to the area.
depict Bible stories and so much more
50 murals grace more than 5,000 square feet of The Chapel's wall
and ceilings, created and colored by Sam in the rich hues of the
Renaissance art that inspired him. Within these inspiring images
of hope and faith, Butcher's beloved Precious Moments characters
portray historic Biblical figures in murals depicting the Creation,
a tribute to the arts, Old Testament Bible stories, heroes of
the New Testament, acts of service, the life of Jesus and the
parables of Jesus.
activities on Grandpa's Island (a child-sized castle that Butcher
built for his grandchildren) are also depicted. One last mural
portrays Hallelujah Square in the kingdom of Heaven, a place where
families are reunited, hurts are mended and all are happy. Visitors
will note that the Christ figure, at the center of this mural,
is the only non-Precious Moments figure depicted in the chapel.
most impressive painting; however, is the 1,400-square-foot ceiling
mural inspired by Michelangelo's Creation in the Sistine Chapel.
In a test of faith, determination and talent, Butcher painted
the breathtaking scene of cherubic angels floating among clouds.
This was especially challenging, as Butcher had to lie flat on
his back on a scaffold 35 feet in the air!
Artistry in Every Graceful Line
is awash with richly colored light from 30 highly detailed stained
glass windows designed by Butcher and crafted from 1,200 pieces
of glass. The window above the chapel's main entrance portrays
two celebration angels. The seven windows of the East Gallery
illustrate the 23rd Psalm and the seven windows of the West Gallery
depict the Beatitudes.
artistry is also evident around as well as within the Chapel including
the exquisite wrought iron gates at the end of the welcoming Avenue
include the magnificent Fountain Of Angels, which also began as
an inspiration, and a dream of the artist. It took more than five
years and the work of many artisans from halfway around the world
to make Butcher's dream a reality, and in 1999 construction was
completed on the new Fountain Building to house this exquisite
masterpiece of Butcher's faith.
Are Always Welcome
For more information,
interested visitors can contact the Chapel Complex at 1-800-543-7975
and can even take a virtual tour at the Chapel's website at www.preciousmoments.com.
A must-see for devoted Precious Moments fans the chapel and its
grounds are continuously expanding to incorporate new attractions
developed from Butcher's fertile mind and talented hands.